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Challenge School Dot Day celebration encourages creativity, collaboration, courage

The Dot by Peter H. ReynoldsTeacher and students working on Dot Day paintingAiden Zeng was excited when he learned that his mini course class at the Challenge School was going to read “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds.

“My mother read it to me when I was just 3 or 4,” Zeng said. He’s now a fifth-grader who can recount the story by heart.

“This girl doesn’t think she can draw or do art,” he explained. “Then her teacher asks her to make a single mark. She just slams (her paintbrush) down because she doesn’t know what to do and she’s kind of mad.”

But the next week, the girl’s painting of a single dot is hanging above her teacher’s desk in a golden frame, and the teacher asks her to sign her artwork.

“Then she feels kind of proud,” Zeng said. She also feels empowered to try new things and help others do the same. The simple but inspiring story is now celebrated around the globe on Sept. 15, also known as Dot Day.

Students working on Dot Day painting“Dot Day is an international celebration of creativity, collaboration, and courage. It’s all about making a mark and seeing where it takes you,” said Lauren Schleppi, Zeng’s mini course teacher, as well as the art teacher at Challenge. She organized a schoolwide Dot Day celebration on Sept. 15. Students, teachers, and staff wore dots, made dots, displayed dots, and discussed dots. They also talked about the message of “The Dot.”

“For me the main message is to try your best,” said fifth-grader Onyx Toney, after she and some of her classmates worked on a collaborative dot painting.

“I think the message is, it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s all about creativity,” Zeng added.

Fellow fifth-grader Maya Harikrishna agreed.

“It can really spark your creativity. You can just put a dot on a paper and see where it takes you,” she said. “Just go for it! Do whatever you think is cool.”

Schleppi said Dot Day aligns with CCSD’s five Core Values, particularly Growth Mindset.

“It’s getting kids to open their minds to try something new, and really celebrate their creativity,” Schleppi said. “We want our students to think that they can and to have the courage to try.”

Posted 9/20/2022.